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Volunteers Leave American Training Homes With New Deck, New Yard, and Many Smiles

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Rain or shine took on a whole new meaning late last month when Catholic HEART Workcamp volunteers arrived at American Training. The volunteers, aged 8th grade through college, arrived Monday, June 29, at four of the organization’s Specialized Housing homes.

Over their four day stay, they landscaped and built a deck, and endured the famous New England weather, toughing out the heat Monday, humidity Tuesday, downpour Wednesday, and, well, enjoyed a beautiful Thursday.

“They were all so pumped to be here,” said Sarah Mallett, one of ATI’s residential managers, adding that she was impressed at how much enthusiasm they brought to the table each day, regardless of the weather.

The CHWC volunteers came from all over the country to do service work and engage in their mission to love, serve, and connect. And while they were at the American Training residential homes, they had the opportunity to meet and get to know Residents and Colleagues and experience the organization’s signature WOW! Magic.

“I feel really accomplished and very happy that we were able to finish this,” said Richard Wilson, 16, a volunteer from Glastonbury, Conn. who worked on a landscaping project. “It makes me really happy we were able to do this for the Residents and make them happy.”

According to Mallett, they did just that. “Our Residents love the changes,” she said, adding, “it’s really been great having them here,” of the volunteers.

Annie Nassis, Director of Youth Ministry at All Saints Catholic Parish in Knoxville, Tenn. and adult volunteer and chaperone, said the volunteers took something away with them too. “They’re learning something they’ve never done before.”

“I feel it was a success,” said Christine Rodriguez, 15, a volunteer from Stamford, Conn. “I thought we wouldn’t finish because there was so much to be done, but we believed in ourselves and we did it,”

Rodriguez’s team joined another team to work on a massive project at the Grant Road home in Lawrence. There they tore up the front lawn and mulched the whole thing, planting bushes, trees, and flowers in the yard.

One Resident of the home, Alice Rodenmayer, thanked the volunteers for their work. “I love it. It looks beautiful,” she said of her new front yard.

At the end of the week, on July 2nd, the CHWC volunteers left their mark behind with a new deck and stairs at American Training’s Chadwick home, renovated flowerbeds at their Lovejoy home, a clean and reorganized basement at their Story Avenue home, and a beautiful new front yard at their Grant Road home. American Training left their mark on the volunteers in the form of WOW! Magic, and gave each volunteer a box lunch and a gift bag filled with goodies and snacks to take home.

Find out more about CHWC, American Training, and see pictures from the week at www.americantraininginc.com/event/chwc-wow.

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan is president and publisher of The Valley Patriot Newspaper in North Andover, Massachusetts. He is an author, host of the Paying Attention TV/Radio Program, lectures on media bias and police issues, is a former Lawrence School Committeeman, former political director for Mass. Citizens Alliance, and a 1990 Police Survivor. You can email your comments to valleypatriot@aol.com.

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